Last week was Love Your Body week, sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center and the Queer Resource Center of Southern Oregon University. Love Your Body week featured multiple talks and discussions, three of which I attended personally. Two of these seemed more conversation than professional talk, not out of any fault of the presenters, but because of lack of attendance. Tuesday afternoon two events scheduled nearly back-to-back became discussions of roughly four people each plus the presenters.
Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. was a discussion called “Fat Activism.” Included in this event was an activity designed to help attendees identify various kinds of privilege, including white, straight, and the subject of the talk, thin privilege. Discussion trended to what thin privilege and fat erasure in the media looks like. While the small number of attendees could have made this an intimate and uplifting conversation, the location being the Diversions Nightclub in the Stevenson Union made it obvious that the talk and activities were designed with many more attendees in mind, and it became difficult to not be disappointed on behalf of the talented and informed presenters. Despite this, the attendees seemed touched by the topic, and the discussion proved helpful to at least one of them. In this light, the event can be seen as nothing but a success.
Also on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. was a talk on sensual eating; using all five senses to truly appreciate our food to develop a more healthy relationship with food as a culture. This small group discussed several books on this and similar matters. We went over concepts of health and how it relates to mindfulness and to our sensory input. This talk was also sparsely attended, although the environment in an upstairs classroom at the SU lent itself more to an intimate discussion of the subject. This event ended with at least I and probably several other attendees feeling as if we had a lot of reading to do, and that every minute of it would benefit our lives and our future.
Just as I was beginning to worry that Love Your Body Week events were going to be largely ignored by the student body, Thursday at 3:30 p.m. rolled around and I found myself back in a classroom upstairs at the SU, this time seeing it nearly overcrowded. An eager audience witnessed adjunct professor Liz Eckhart’s lecture entitled “Masculinities in Film: The Brutalized Body.” The primary focus and examples were a contrast between Daniel Craig in the newest set of Bond films and Ben Whishaw in not just the latest Bond film but in several of his previous works. This contrast led us to discussions of various perspectives of masculinity in American culture and as the discussion went on, in particular within American fan culture. There was a sense of collective disappointment when time was out and discussion continued during close-down. This is a topic that it seems students at SOU are eager to continue discussing.
The question that lingers for me is, of course, why was Thursday’s event so populated and Tuesday’s events so sparse? Are more people were free to attend events later in the week? Was Thursday’s event better advertised or are people simply more likely to attend talks led by professors than peers?
Feel free to comment about why you attended one/more than one/none of the events.